3. Soil Contamination
a. Septic and Sewage
If a septic system is part of the subject property, the appraiser must determine whether the area is free of conditions that adversely affect the operation of the system. Consider the following:
If in doubt about the operation of sewage disposal systems in the neighborhood, mark "YES " in VC-2, condition the appraisal on further inspection and prepare the appraisal "as-repaired" subject to satisfaction of the condition. The lender will contact the local health authority or a professional to determine the viability of the system.
b. Other Soil Contaminants
The following conditions may indicate unacceptable levels of soil contamination: pools of liquid, pits, ponds, lagoons, stressed vegetation, stained soils or pavement, drums or odors.
c. Underground Storage Tanks
During the site inspection, the appraiser must walk the property and search for readily observable evidence of underground storage tanks. Evidence would include fill pipes, pumps, ventilation caps, etc.
The site must be graded to provide positive drainage away from the perimeter walls of the dwelling and to prevent standing water on the site. Signs of inadequate draining include standing water proximate to the structure and no mitigation measures such as gutters or downspouts. For specific instructions about noting this information in the VC form, see VC-3 in the protocol (Appendix D).
5. Water Supply And Sewage Systems
Each living unit must contain the following:
Connection must be made to a public water/sewer system or a community water/sewer system, if connection costs to the public or community system are reasonable (3% or less of the estimated value of the property). If connection costs exceed 3% the existing on-site systems will be acceptable provided they are functioning properly and meet the requirements of the local health department.
a. Individual Water Supply and Sewage Disposal Systems
If water and sewer systems are not connected to public systems, the water well and/or septic system must meet the requirements of the local health authority with jurisdiction. If the local authority does not have specific requirements, the maximum contaminant levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will apply. If the authority is unable to perform the water quality analysis in a timely manner, a private commercial testing laboratory or a licensed sanitary engineer acceptable to the authority may take and test water samples.
A domestic well must be a minimum of 50 feet from a septic tank, 100 feet from the septic tank's drain field and a minimum of 10 feet from any property line.
b. Unacceptable Conditions
The following water well conditions are unacceptable and must be noted in VC-4:
The lender will require the engineer's follow-up report and will arrange for any required corrective measures.
6. Wood Structural Components: Termites
Termites can cause serious problems in the wood structural components of a house and may go undetected for a long period of time. FHA requires maximum assurances that a home is free of any infestation. A pest inspection is always required for:
Observe all areas of the property that have potential for termite infestation, including the bottoms of exterior doors and frames, and wood siding in contact with the ground and crawl spaces. Examine mud tunnels running from the ground up the side of the house for possible evidence of termite infestation.
For specific instructions on noting this information in the VC Form, see VC-5 in the protocol (Appendix D).
Each property must be provided with safe and adequate pedestrian and vehicular access from a public or private street. Private streets must be protected by permanent recorded easements and have joint maintenance agreements or be owned and maintained by a HOA. All streets must provide all-weather access to all buildings for essential and emergency use, including access for deliveries, service, maintenance and fire equipment. FHA defines all-weather surface as a road surface over which emergency vehicles can pass in all types of weather. Streets must either be:
8. Defective Conditions
A property with defective conditions is unacceptable until the defects or conditions have been remedied and the probability of further damage eliminated. Defective conditions include:
The items outlined in VC-7: Structural Conditions, are meant to alert the appraiser and the lender to the possibility of defective conditions. These items are readily identifiable characteristics that could indicate one of the defective conditions.